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Democrats could go even further than before if they sweep the White House, Senate, and House again

Bryan Metzger   

Democrats could go even further than before if they sweep the White House, Senate, and House again
  • Democrats could end up with a "trifecta" in 2025, allowing them to once again pass party-line bills.
  • They passed tons of major bills during the first two years of Biden's presidency.

There's lots of talk — and rightfully so — about what America might look like if former President Donald Trump returns to the Oval Office.

But there's a not-insignificant chance that not only does Trump lose again, but that Democrats find themselves once again in control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives at the beginning of 2025.

It's not the most likely outcome, but it's one worth taking seriously, especially given the retirement of Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, two key Democratic obstacles to President Joe Biden's agenda who will be out of office next year.

Here's how Democrats could win a trifecta again — and what could happen if they do.

How Biden could win — and have Democratic majorities in Congress

As it stands now, Trump has a slight lead over Biden nationally, and the incumbent president is facing an array of challenges as he seeks a second term. But the election is still six months away, polls shift, and who knows what could happen between now and then?

Democrats are broadly seen as favored to retake the House, with nearly 20 House Republican incumbents fighting to hold on in districts won by Biden in 2020. Several of those seats are in California and New York, while another two are in Arizona, where Democrats are expecting major political upside from a possible ballot measure on abortion rights.

The Senate will be a tougher lift. With Manchin's retirement, Democrats are all but guaranteed to lose at least one Senate seat, cutting any potential majority down to 50-50 — and it's only a majority if Biden wins, and Vice President Kamala Harris is around to break tie votes.

Democrats' chances essentially hinge on keeping tough seats in Ohio and Montana, two states that Trump won handily in both 2016 and 2020, while maintaining their seats everywhere else, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

It will be tough, but it's within the realm of possibility that Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio hang on — as they did in 2018 — and that Democrats end up with a slim majority again.

Democrats may have the votes to codify abortion protections nationwide

The lowest-hanging fruit for Democrats, if they regain a trifecta, would be to pass legislation protecting abortion rights nationwide — likely something resembling the Women's Health Protection Act, which would overrule existing state-level abortion bans that have emerged in the years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Biden supports it, and House Democrats have already voted for it twice, once in 2021 and again in 2022.

The reason they weren't able to pass the bill in the Senate in 2022 was because Manchin and Sinema opposed eliminating the chamber's "filibuster" rule, which requires 60 votes to pass legislation. Manchin was the only Democrat who opposed the bill outright.

Aside from national abortion protections, Democrats might take a shot at another legislative item stymied by Manchin and Sinema in 2022 — voting rights.

Democrats accomplished a lot during the first two years of Biden's presidency. But there's plenty they still want to do.

In contrast with the past 16 months of divided government, Biden's first two years came with lots of legislative accomplishments, including unprecedented climate legislation, a massive infrastructure bill, legislation to invest in the country's semiconductor manufacturing system, and more.

There are still a million more things that Democrats want to do — or have been blocked from doing before.

For one indicator of how far the party might go with a trifecta, take a look at the Congressional Progressive Caucus's recently released "Progressive Proposition Agenda."

It's a laundry list of progressive policy ideas, including items that were included in the original "Build Back Better" social spending and climate bill that Manchin and Sinema ultimately helped kill.

That includes reinstating the expanded child tax credit, investing $250 billion in affordable housing, passing legislation to strengthen workers' unions, legalizing marijuana, granting statehood to Washington, DC, and providing full tuition at public colleges and universities.

Not all of these policies would be enacted, and it's difficult to say for sure what Biden would pursue with total control in 2025.

But progressives showed during the first two years of Biden's presidency that they held more sway than any other faction of the party, and it will be worth paying close attention to them again whenever Democrats regain power — whether that's next year or several years from now.

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